Ben Carson on Transgenderism: ‘Can a Leopard Change Its Spots?'

Rachel Hoover | July 25, 2016 | 3:50pm EDT
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Dr. Ben Carson. (AP photo)

Renowned neurosurgeon and former Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson compared transgenderism to changing one's ethnicity or an animal altering its appearance.

“Can a leopard change its spots? No. It can’t [just] because it feels like maybe it’s a different creature,” Carson explained to The Hill in Cleveland last week, 

“For someone to wake up and think that they belong to a different sex because they feel different that day is the same as if you woke up and said, ‘I’m Afghani today because I saw a movie about that last night, and even though my genetics might not indicate that, that’s the way I feel, and if you say that I’m not, then you’re a racist,’” said Carson..

“What we ought to do is utilize our brains, utilize our common sense as human beings. We’ve known what men are and what women are for thousands of years. So we don’t know anything, everything is relative — this doesn’t make any sense,” he continued.

Carson reiterated his remarks in an interview with Yahoo News anchor Katie Couric. "There are biological markers that tell us whether we are a male or a female, and just because you wake up one day and you say, 'I think I'm the other one,' that doesn't change it. Just as a leopard can't change its spots,"he said.

“We have known what a man is and what a woman is for thousands of years. All of a sudden, we don’t know what they are anymore. I said that is absurd," Carson said.

“It doesn’t change their genetics, it doesn’t change their biology because of the way that they feel,” he continued.

“Now if they want to pursue whatever they need to pursue in order to get to where they need to be, that’s fine. But the way that you feel that morning does not physically change who you are.”

When Couric asked Carson whether there should be tolerance for transgender people, he answered, “Well, of course there should be tolerance.”

“Let me put it this way. Tolerance goes in both directions,” he continued. “And I believe that our Constitution protects everybody and every group. They have equal rights.

"But nobody gets extra rights. Nobody gets to redefine everything for everybody else and then make them comply to it….That’s not tolerance.”

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